Confessions of a Control Freak

It’s my way or the highway. And it has always been that way. Sometimes, the highway part happened literally. I don’t know when it started. I didn’t even know about it until recently.

Hi. You probably know my name since most of you have been reading this blog for two years. But I’m Elie Fares. And I’m a control freak.

You know those friends who always choose a restaurant and wouldn’t go except to that restaurant? Well, I’m one of those people. Annoying, definitely. But you can’t escape them nonetheless and frankly, I have no clue why. My plans have to go through all the time. It’s not because I’m bossy and I like to lead groups, which I like to do. It’s because, in my head, my plans are always the ones that should be going because, well, I planned them.

The above, ladies and gentlemen, is part of the diagnostic criteria for obsessive compulsive personality disorder. The silver lining is that I don’t fit enough criteria to be diagnosed. No mental illness for me (for now).

I never noticed this part of me until it was pointed out to me by someone whom I’ve hurt deeply: events where I’d be in total control, have people do my way and not even notice it. Slowly, a pattern emerged. Without me even noticing, I’d build a plan. I’d get people on board my plan. The resistance to my plan would be sweet-talked into getting on board again. And I have my way. Everyone should be happy, correct? Well, not quite.

How long has this been taking place? Looking back, I believe it has been taking place ever since I can remember. My friends and I never go to the cinema unless I’m choosing the movie. There were times when we’d go to the cinema and we’d go into separate theaters. Excuse me, but I’m not spending any money on an Arnold Schwarzenegger flick.

In other instances, when I wouldn’t get my way I’d simply cancel being part of an outing altogether. It’s better to stay in, I’d say, watching movies and series. Who needs people anyway?

I always failed to see humor in a situation. If it doesn’t go according to plan, there’s obviously nothing good that can come out of it. I couldn’t lighten up. It just didn’t come naturally to me.

Even the times I traveled were full of me ordering people around without noticing. At the time, I thought it was a necessity at the time. In retrospect, I should have let loose a little, been more at ease and had more fun. But I just can’t help it. It’s either I get to have a tight hold over things or things don’t go well at all and I figured people will eventually come to terms with that.

I was mistaken.

Over the past weekend, I decided that I should see how I would function in a setting where I didn’t have to plan out everything. So I went out with my friends and, hard as it was, I had no say at all in the restaurant pick. They chose somewhere in Jbeil. I obviously disapproved. The place was an open space, arguile and smoking included. I disapproved as well. I also disapproved of the menu. But I didn’t say anything nor did I make it known. I tried as much as I can to enjoy the company in spite of the loud music. Yes, I disapproved as well.

Shock #1: The food wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.

Shock #2: The place was still too noisy, too loud, too not up my alley. But I had fun anyway.

Shock #3: It was a relief not to have to worry about having chosen something and others possibly not liking it.

Even being at the hospital has proven more difficult for my personality type than my other friends. I couldn’t stand things being utterly disorganized, people doing whatever they wanted and me being in the midst of it having no idea what to do. And I got in trouble because of my “attitude.” There was nothing I can do.

The people I don’t see often don’t have to deal with this aspect of me because it’s not that apparent. But through being a control freak and all the perks that come with it, I’ve made the life of very close people a living hell. I’d say I’m sorry again and again but it wouldn’t suffice.

I’m not sure if I can completely become the person that I want to become. It’s just so easy to fall back on what I know. Sometimes I think if I want to change for the sake of the people I’ve hurt. But that’s not true at all. I have to change for me.  I don’t want to ruin friendships that have changed me and hurt people who mean the world to me. I’ve hurt them enough. There’s a limit to how much people can love you unconditionally. I have to become more vulnerable and let go. I’m working on it. I need help.

I wish I could go back in time to change things.

Hi. My name is Elie Fares and I’m damaged and I’m sorry to those I’ve damaged. Now you know.

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4 thoughts on “Confessions of a Control Freak

  1. That’s transparent of you to share such a personal and private information with your reader.
    I couldn’t help though the before the last paragraph. It has a totally different point of view reading this directly after watching “About Time”

    Anyways. I give you a salute of support. Keep going.

    Reply
  2. Lol, you reminded me of one of my cousins who’s part of the “gang” I always go out with. I do love her alot and sometimes enjoy her company, but she is INCREDIBLY annoying and selfish and really gets on my nerves! We’re a group of 7 girls and for example if she had decided to go somewhere and we all voted to go to another place she snaps and calls us all control freaks and really means it…ughh.
    I used to have similar tendencies and i’m a very conceptual and strict perfectionist, but over the years I have trained myself to let go of my ego and give other people a chance, sometimes it’s much more enjoyable to just “go with the flow” even if I think the people around me are mistaken, mistakes can be fun at times and to my surprise too, it saves me the embarrassment of turning out wrong 🙂 A change in priorities is also very useful.
    Getting over “controlism” requires training and constant self “reading” and rational analysis of our compulsions and whims. Mental training isn’t enough, it should be combined with sincere behavioural training. You have to let go sometimes even if it hurts, and then with the positive outcomes your mind will be conditioned into a state that demands less control. Ask for guidance from a close person too.

    On another account, were you a lonely child who was always used to getting things your way? Because there maybe a direct link between your upbringing as a child and your personality structure. (well not “maybe”, there’s always a link between childhood and personality as an adult). That’s not a question that has to be answered publicly, it’s just for personal reflection. Unravelling the reasons behind traits we don’t like can really help us understand ourselves and our needs better so we could improve.
    Or maybe a fear of losing control is embedded in your subconscious, caused by a traumatic experience. It maybe useful to find out why it’s there.
    Loosening up won’t only make you much less of a pain in the butt, but more importantly it will dramatically improve your own life and mental health. Always wanting to be in control is very emotionally draining.

    Sorry for all this lengthy blabber, and I did omit half of it for readability’s sake lol

    Reply
  3. Hi Fares, I don’t know much about you and suddenly I know something very personal, thank you for sharing. I’m not sure what you do in life, if you have a job aside your blog or not, but control freaks usually are good managers so maybe you could do that to channel your :condition”?

    Reply

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